BOUNCING ROUND THE ROOM
It could be said that NHL journeyman Erik Haula has been everywhere. Most NHL players have also been everywhere with their respective teams. In the case of Erik Haula, for some reason, that reason being unknown, he could not get a team to offer him a contract that would allow him and his family to settle down. Erik was drafted in the 7th round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. He was pick number 182. Usually, a seventh round pick would have a hard time getting to the big time, but that wasn’t exactly Haula’s problem. The problem Erik Haula had for most of his career was staying put. Here is a list of teams that Erik Haula has played for.
- Minnesota Wild (Drafted, 4 seasons)
- Vegas Golden Knights (Stanley Cup Finals, 1 1/2 seasons)
- Carolina Hurricanes (Half of a season)
- Florida Panthers (7 games)
- Nashville Predators(Half of the season)
- Boston Bruins (1 season)
- New Jersey Devils (4 seasons?)
So, as we can see here, Mr. Haula has been on quite the journey. I guess that is why they call them “Journeymen,” right? With all his moving around, his family must have felt like a military family, as he has a wife and children. When the New Jersey Devils decided they needed a bit of a change, they looked at a high round draft pick in their roster who wasn’t performing up to his ability. The sights were set on Pavel Zacha, who was a player many fans were excited for. Being drafted 7th overall is a huge difference from being drafted in the 7th round, or so you would think. Erik Haula, coming off the best season of his career, was over in Boston with a looming contract dispute surely coming. With Pavel Zacha on the Devils, they may have needed a more Veteran presence in the position of Zacha, who year after year was showing glimpses of greatness but could never fully get it down. The trade was on, and on paper, it would look silly. A 7th overall pick for a 7th rounder surely doesn’t make sense. In Hockey, nothing makes sense, and everything makes sense all at the same time. Erik Haula’s career high would almost be matched in his first year in New Jersey. His season with Boston left him with 18 goals and 26 assists, and his first year with New Jersey, he had 14 goals and 27 assists. This trade was meant to be. The Devils needed an Erik Haula all this time, and they just didn’t know it. Luckily, Tom Fitzgerald did.
A DEAL WITH THE DEVIL
After one full season in New Jersey, and this has happened so many times in the history of the franchise, Haula loved the atmosphere. Haula said in his exit interview after the Devils were ousted in the Second Round of the NHL playoffs (further than his last team, the Bruins, who broke an NHL regular season record that season) that he would love to return to the Devils. He said that he hopes he can become part of this team, he felt at home, the fans love him, and he’s coming to the end of his career. If the Devils had not signed him to a 3 year deal, would he have taken another one year contract with another team? Or would he have hung up the skates for the sake of his family? Luckily, no one needs to answer that question because Erik inked that three year deal with the Devils. What Haula brings to this Devils squad is intensity, special teams, leadership, and unexpected clutch plays and goals. Haula was one of the standouts along with Mike Mcleod in last season’s playoffs as some of the Devils stars like Hamilton, Bratt, and even the Captain, Nico Hischier, had a slow playoff start. It seems like Tom Fitzgerald has once again worked magic and brought in the perfect player to complement what he had. Remember, before last season, the Devils were bottom dwellers. At the time of writing this, the Devils are off to a sloppy and slow start at 1-1-1, playing the Islanders tonight in their first road game. In this game, Lindy Ruff has flipped the lines like we’ve never seen before, but one thing we won’t see is Erik Haula. Haula is apparently DTD (Day To Day) with a lower body injury. Ironically, on the Devils red carpet during the Home Opener festivities, we happened to tell Erik we thought he was injured and would miss the opener. Haula responded with, ” I don’t get hurt.” It seems that his words did not age well, but this is hockey, and we always have to take something like that with a grain of salt. Of course, Haula, for the second year in a row, was extremely personable and inviting when speaking with him prior to the home opener. Last year it was his first Devils home opener, and he seemed a little nervous, but we showed him support, and he ended the season almost begging to come back to the Devils Organization. As a Devils fan, I am extremely pleased with Erik Haula and what he brings to this young, fast team. The only way to go from here is up, and if Haula decides after this contract is up to retire, he would have retired after having 4 fun seasons with an exciting team, and maybe even by then, he will have his own Stanley Cup Ring. We can only wait and see. Until then, Erik Haula will be wearing number 56 for the Devils for the next 3 years, barring some sort of trade that I don’t see happening anytime soon or at all. At the time of this article, Erik Haula is DTD and did not dress against the Islanders on 10/20/2023. Thank you for checking out the brief history of Erik Haula and how he ended up a New Jersey Devil.
DEVILS CONTENT AND UPDATES
For amazing, up-to-date Devils content, follow @DevilsJointYT on X/Twitter and @TheDevilsJoint on Youtube. Livestream from UBS Arena of the Devils Overtime win in Long Island Friday night is available on X. All season during the Devils games, the YouTube channel has an open live chat for fans who are either out of market or simply just can’t get to the game. The chat has been great, almost like sitting in a section with new fans as you watch the game together virtually. An interview with Bill Spaulding, the Devils Play By Play Announcer, will be coming soon to the channel as well. At the time of writing, the Devils are 1-1-1 heading into Long Island for their first road game. I will be there in the capacity of Press, and all footage will be on X.